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book coverOpportunities for High-Power, High-Frequency Transmitters to Advance Ionospheric/Thermospheric ResearchReport of a Workshop   (SSB)
Released 2014-02-11

Opportunities for High-Power, High-Frequency Transmitters to Advance Ionospheric/Thermospheric Research is the summary of a workshop convened by the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council in May 2013. The request for this workshop was informed by the sponsors' awareness of the possibility that tight budgets would result in the Department of Defense's curtailment or even termination1 of support for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which includes the world's highest-power and most capable high-frequency transmitter - "heater" - for ionospheric research. Although the workshop was organized to consider the utility of heaters in upper atmospheric research in general, it had a specific focus on the HAARP transmitter facility, which is located in a remote part of southeastern Alaska. Research conducted by the ionospheric modifications community - a community that uses high-frequency transmitters to inject energy in the ionosphere and measure its effects using ground and space-based diagnostics - is focused on understanding the interaction of radio waves with the ionospheric plasma, the local consequences of heating in the ionosphere, and studies of non-linear plasma physics processes. The workshop provided a forum for information exchange between the comparatively small group of scientists engaged in programs of upper atmospheric research using high-power high-frequency radar transmitters and the larger ionospherethermosphere-magnetosphere research community. This report examines the state of the art in active ionospheric and thermospheric research; considers the fundamental research areas in ionospheric science that can be addressed using high-power high-frequency-band transmitters; discusses emerging science questions that might benefit from active ionospheric experiments in the sub-auroral zone; and considers ways to combine similar facilities to perform global ionospheric science. The report also examines research opportunities that might arise from the relocation of the AMISR incoherent scatter radar from the Poker Flat Research Facility in Poker Flat, AK to Gakona, AK, the location of the HAARP facility.

book coverReview of the Draft 2014 Science Mission Directorate Science Plan   (SSB)
Released 2013-12-02

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is engaged in the final stages of a comprehensive, agency-wide effort to develop a new strategic plan at a time when its budget is under considerable stress. SMD's Science Plan serves to provide more detail on its four traditional science disciplines - astronomy and astrophysics, solar and space physics (also called heliophysics), planetary science, and Earth remote sensing and related activities - than is possible in the agency-wide Strategic Plan. Review of the Draft 2014 Science Mission Directorate Science Plan comments on the responsiveness of SMD's Science Plan to the National Research Council's guidance on key science issues and opportunities in recent NRC decadal reports. This study focuses on attention to interdisciplinary aspects and overall scientific balance; identification and exposition of important opportunities for partnerships as well as education and public outreach; and integration of technology development with the science program. The report provides detailed findings and recommendations relating to the draft Science Plan.

book coverLandsat and BeyondSustaining and Enhancing the Nation's Land Imaging Program   (SSB)
Released 2013-12-03

In 1972 NASA launched the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ETRS), now known as Landsat 1, and on February 11, 2013 launched Landsat 8. Currently the United States has collected 40 continuous years of satellite records of land remote sensing data from satellites similar to these. Even though this data is valuable to improving many different aspects of the country such as agriculture, homeland security, and disaster mitigation; the availability of this data for planning our nation\'s future is at risk. Thus, the Department of the Interior\'s (DOI\'s) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) requested that the National Research Council\'s (NRC\'s) Committee on Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program review the needs and opportunities necessary for the development of a national space-based operational land imaging capability. The committee was specifically tasked with several objectives including identifying stakeholders and their data needs and providing recommendations to facilitate the transition from NASA\'s research-based series of satellites to a sustained USGS land imaging program. Landsat and Beyond: Sustaining and Enhancing the Nation's Land Imaging Program is the result of the committee\'s investigation. This investigation included meetings with stakeholders such as the DOI, NASA, NOAA, and commercial data providers. The report includes the committee\'s recommendations, information about different aspects of the program, and a section dedicated to future opportunities.

book coverSpace Studies Board Annual Report 2012   (SSB)
Released 2013-04-05

The original charter of the Space Science Board was established in June 1958, 3 months before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) opened its doors. The Space Science Board and its successor, the Space Studies Board (SSB), have provided expert external and independent scientific and programmatic advice to NASA on a continuous basis from NASA's inception until the present. The SSB has also provided such advice to other executive branch agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Department of Defense, as well as to Congress. Space Studies Board Annual Report 2012 covers a message from the chair of the SSB, Charles F. Kennel. This report also explains the origins of the Space Science Board, how the Space Studies Board functions today, the SSB's collaboration with other National Research Council units, assures the quality of the SSB reports, acknowledges the audience and sponsors, and expresses the necessity to enhance the outreach and improve dissemination of SSB reports. This report will be relevant to a full range of government audiences in civilian space research - including NASA, NSF, NOAA, USGS, and the Department of Energy, as well members of the SSB, policy makers, and researchers.